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What Marriage May Be

June 15th, 2010 · 1 Comment

By way of belated congratulations to happy newlyweds Megan and Peter, I thought I’d reproduce here the short passage I read at the wedding this weekend, and which (with some reservations about “identical in opinions”) fits them to a T:

What marriage may be in the case of two persons of cultivated faculties, identical in opinions and purposes, between whom there exists that best kind of equality, similarity of powers and capacities with reciprocal superiority in them — so that each can enjoy the luxury of looking up to the other, and can have alternately the pleasure of leading and of being led in the path of development — I will not attempt to describe. To those who can conceive it, there is no need; to those who cannot, it would appear the dream of an enthusiast.
-John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Michael @ Panoptiblog // Jun 26, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. As someone who married young, then divorced after a decade, I wish I’d had this on hand last year when I was married a second time. Most of all I appreciate the first four words: “What marriage may be…” It presents marriage at its best, rather than presuming marriage in general to be this utopian ideal, as it is so often characterized by, say, Andrew Sullivan. Even so, I might also note that one might have such a relationship as JSM describes without the institution.

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